Canopy Scientist

Job Description Canopy scientists are biologists who study the forest canopy—the uppermost layer of trees. Today's researchers use a variety of equipment to reach the canopy. Canopy scientists can work in universities, botanical gardens, museums, and government and conservation agencies.

Focus On a Canopy Scientist

"I'm on the edge of discovering what is new. Plus, I get to climb trees!" Nalini Nadkarni teaches at a university and conducts research in both tropical and tem perate forests. She has also invited artists and musicians to visit the canopy. "I try to understand the science of the canopy, but artists and musicians help capture its aesthetic value." Nadkarni knows that her job is important. The forests she studies are important factors in world climate and are home to many unique species.

Education and Skills

• High School—three years of science courses and four years of math courses.

• College—bachelor of science in biology, including course work in botany, zoology, ecology, geography, and data analysis; a master's (M.S.) or doctoral degree (Ph.D.) for research. Skills—self-motivation, curiosity, patience, good observation skills, research skills, computer literacy, quick thinking, and field survival skills.

For more about careers, visit and type in the keyword HM6 Careers.

For more about careers, visit and type in the keyword HM6 Careers.

Escape from Unsuitable Conditions

Some species can survive unfavorable environmental conditions by escaping from them temporarily. For example, desert animals usually hide underground or in the shade during the hottest part of the day. Many desert species are active at night, when temperatures are much lower. A longer-term strategy is to enter a state of reduced activity, called dormancy, during periods of unfavorable conditions, such as winter or drought. Another strategy is to move to a more favorable habitat, called migration. An example of migration is the seasonal movements of birds, which spend spring and summer in cooler climates and migrate to warmer climates in the fall.

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